Pests, such as roaches, mice, and rats in the home are both a nuisance and a health problem. The skin and droppings they leave behind can trigger asthma attacks, allergies, and other respiratory problems. Chemicals used to combat pests can also cause harm, especially for those with respiratory problems.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a multidisciplinary approach to pest management that uses a range of pest control methods, including pest exclusion, sanitary practices, and minor structural alterations rather than relying on just one approach, such as pesticide application. Targeting pests in a variety of ways greatly reduces the dependency on the use of chemical. There are four fundamental IPM principles:
1) Monitoring pest populations with sticky traps to find out where pests are living and hiding 2) Blocking pest access and entryways 3) Eliminating food and water 4) Selectively applying low-toxicity pesticides to address problems.
A growing literature base documents the cost-effectiveness and health benefits of IPM.
Click here to access key research.
ARC and IPM
ARC has been involved in efforts to promote Integrated Pest Management since 2003, when we partnered with the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) on a HUD-funded project to bring IPM to BHA’s Holgate Apartments, a building complex that houses low-income elderly and disabled persons.
In recent years, ARC has partnered with the Boston Public Health Commission, the Boston Housing Authority, and other housing, health, advocacy and academic institutions to promote IPM through the Healthy Pest Free Housing Initiative (HPFHI). HPFHI is an innovative community demonstration project designed to reduce environmental health risks and asthma among residents of Boston public housing, in homes and communities. Through education, outreach, and systems change, HPFHI is reducing pest infestation, while changing individual and community pest control practices. For more information about HPFHI, click here.
Educational Materials from ARC
- The Role of Pest Control in Effective Asthma Management: A Business Case (2009) This report shows the cost of integrated pest management to reduce asthma triggers compared to medical costs.
- IPM Toolkit: A Guide for Managers and Owners of Affordable Housing Developments (2007)
- Integrated Pest Management in Multi-Family Housing (2007) A report that summarizes what happened at Holgate and discusses the results as well as the implications.
- Integrated Pest Management: A Real Solution to Pest Problems An educational DVD that talks about the benefits of IPM and addresses property managers, property owners, and maintenance staff. It features BHA housing manager Jim McCarthy explaining how he has successfully used IPM practices to address pest problems in the buildings he manages.
- Stop Pests in Your Homes An educational DVD that targets tenants and residents and offers advice on how to avoid pest problems.
IPM Programs and Organizations
Guides, Trainings, and Other Resources
National Center for Healthy Housing: IPM in Multi-Family Housing Course Clearinghouse of IPM resources and training materials.
Guidelines for Prevention and Management of Bed Bugs Produced by the New York State IPM program, this website offers a comprehensive guide to addressing bedbugs using methods consistent with IPM.
Stoppests.org Downloadable versions of and references for the IPM in Multifamily Housing training program, run by the Northeastern IPM Center.
Urban Integrated Pest Management Resources, fact sheets, learning lessons, and answers from experts about pest management in and around buildings.
Asthma, Pesticides and Children: What you should know to protect your family Booklet from Beyond Pesticides
Cockroach Control Guide From Environmental Health Watch
Cockroach Allergen Reduction Project in Cleveland Public Housing Resources from Environmental Health Watch’s collaboration with Cuyahoga Housing Authority
Integrated Pest Management: Conducting Urban Rodent Surveys By the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention